- 'I know I am innocent and that is giving me strength to fight it out. I want to prove to the world that I have done nothing wrong and I am only a victim of conspiracy.'
Dope-tainted Narsingh Yadav admitted that his career would be over if the four-year ban imposed on him by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) is not reviewed and said that the country should take up his case as India lost out on an Olympic medal in wrestling.
Narsingh was debarred from representing India at the Rio Games in 74kg freestyle wrestling event after he was slapped with a four-year ban by CAS for flunking a dope test following WADA's challenge to the clean chit given to him by (NADA) National Anti-Doping Agency.
"My career will be over. In case, my ban is not reviewed, it would be all over for me," Narsingh told PTI on his arrival in New Delhi, on Monday.
"But it is not just me who have been defamed, this ban on me is a blot on the entire nation's reputation. If my ban is not reviewed, an innocent person would be tainted for life, let alone career being over," a demoralised Narsingh added.
The 27-year-old grappler from Maharashtra said had he been allowed to compete, India would have definitely won another medal from the Rio Games.
"India has definitely lost out on a medal in the 74kg category because one of the two guys who has bagged a bronze in the Rio Olympics, Soner Demirtas of Turkey, I had defeated him during the World Championship at Las Vegas last year enroute to booking my Olympic quota place with a bronze-medal finish there," said Narsingh.
Narsingh said his case has got even more complicated with his "own people" trying to hatch a conspiracy.
"I have got to know that some people in India had told WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) that I had been cleared under political pressure and my case should be reviewed. When my own people are conspiring against me, it becomes even more tough for me to prove my innocence," Narsingh, who was stopped from competing at Rio just hours before his scheduled bout, said.
On how would he prove his innocence, considering that the Sonepat police had so far not acted on Narsingh's complaint that the doping offence was due to sabotage carried out by Jithesh (a junior wrestler and a member of Sushil Kumar's entourage) by mixing his energy drinks with prohibited substance on either June 23 or 24, the wrestler said he might approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I am really doubtful whether the Sonepat police is investigating the matter thoroughly. Despite complains, they have not made any headway into the case."
"That's why I am urging for a CBI inquiry into the matter. Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh will also take up the matter and if need be, I will meet the Prime Minister and request him to help me," he said.
Regarding the criminal case filed against Jithesh at a Sonepat police station, the WADA has said that if any decision was rendered at a later stage by a criminal court in India which confirmed the alleged sabotage, then any award made by the ad-hoc panel could be reviewed by the Supreme Court in Switzerland, where the CAS is based.
"I will not sit quietly till I prove my innocence. The truth must come out. Otherwise it would be extremely unfair on not just me but also for the future of the sport in this country. If the guilty is not punished, then it would encourage malpractice in sports in future as well."
"For the sake of wrestling's future in the country, the matter should be investigated and the guilty should be handed severe punishment," the Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist said.
The ad hoc panel of the CAS had claimed that Narsingh's dope offence was not due to one-time ingestion of the prohibited substance and its concentration in the first test result (of June 25) was so high that it had to come from an oral ingestion of one or two tablets of methandienone, rather than from a drink where the powder had been mixed with water.
When Narsingh was asked about it, he said: "My drinks were spiked a number of times during my practice sessions. I was so busy practicing that I did not keep a watch on my drinks while training in Sonepat."
Asked how he has managed to maintain his calm after going through such a tough phase, Narsingh said, "I know I am innocent and that is giving me strength to fight it out. I want to prove to the world that I have done nothing wrong and I am only a victim of conspiracy."
Narsingh said WADA did not give him enough time to call his lawyer Vidhuspat Singhania to Rio and that also did not help his cause.
"We had requested WADA to give us one week's time, so that my lawyer could have been flown in to Rio but it did not give us any time," he said.
Image: Narsingh Yadav